Discover An Effective Treatment For Rotator Cuff Injury

Looking for relief from the unbearable pain of a rotator cuff injury? Our comprehensive blog post covers all the possible treatments available to help you recover and get back to your daily activities. From physical therapy to medications or surgical intervention, we’ll walk you through each option so that you can make an informed decision for your needs.

If you’re struggling with shoulder pain, make an appointment today at Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine. Our specialists will assess your situation and create a comprehensive treatment plan.


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What Is the Rotator Cuff?

The rotator cuff is a collection of muscles and tendons in the shoulder joint and it facilitates lifting and moving your arms away from the body. In addition, it helps keep the humerus (upper arm bone) situated securely in its socket within the shoulder blade. Comparable to a golf ball resting on top of a tee, this area of our skeletal system allows us flexibility with both ranges of motion and strength against external forces.

However, through excessive use or sudden injury, tears can occur when these tendons become separated from their respective bones, leaving one’s mobility impaired without swift medical attention.

Rotator Cuff Injury – Symptoms

A rotator cuff tear can manifest itself in many ways, and it’s important to recognize the warning signs.

  • Experiencing persistent pain, especially when engaging in certain activities.
  • Inability to rest on the damaged side due to persistent pain
  • Grating or cracking noise when moving your arm.
  • Impaired range of motion in your arm
  • Weak muscles or loss of strength and stamina 


When performing a physical exam, healthcare providers may press and move the affected shoulder within various positions. Additionally, they will assess the strength of muscles around your shoulder and upper arms.

Some of the imaging tests used by doctors are:

  • X-Rays
  • Ultrasound
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Various Treatments For Rotator Cuff Tear

  • Physical TherapyIf you have sustained a rotator cuff injury, physical therapy is often one of the initial courses of action suggested. Specialized exercises will improve your shoulder’s flexibility and strength. Physical therapy can help ensure you are back on your feet faster than ever.
  • InjectionsA steroid injection into the shoulder joint can be a valuable solution for those suffering from persistent pain, especially if it prevents them from getting quality sleep or completing everyday activities. Injections provide temporary relief but may weaken the tendon over time and reduce your chances of successful surgery. In addition, Ortho Biologics such as PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) are emerging as a new, safe, and effective treatment for partial thickness rotator cuff tears, and tendinitis, and to augment repairs at the time of surgery. 
  • SurgeryNumerous surgical options are available for rotator cuff injury. Complete details of them are given in the next section.

Different Surgical Options For Rotator Cuff Injury

  • Arthroscopic Tendon RepairDuring this procedure, our fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons insert a miniature camera (arthroscope) and tools through small incisions (1cm) to clean up the torn tissues and reconnect the ruptured tendon to the bone.
  • Open Tendon RepairIf a particular situation calls for it, an open tendon repair might be the superior option. During this procedure, your doctor utilizes a bigger incision to reattach any broken tendons with their respective bone structures firmly.
  • Tendon TransferShould the torn tendon be too far gone to reconnect with the adjacent bone, surgeons may use an alternative option and substitute a nearby tendon.
  • Superior Capsular Reconstruction – in a certain subset of patients less than 65 years old with a good shoulder joint but an irreparable tear, the superior capsule of the joint can be reconstructed arthroscopically and recreate the check rein of the joint to keep it in position and allow the deltoid to power the shoulder. 
  • Shoulder ReplacementShoulder replacement surgery can be necessary for more substantial rotator cuff wounds. To guarantee the stability of this artificial joint, reverse shoulder arthroplasty is employed to attach the ball part onto the shoulder blade and socket onto the arm bone. This breakthrough procedure allows for a greater scope when it comes to the functionality of movement post-surgery.

Advantages of Different Treatment Options

Let’s take a look at the advantages of various treatment options for rotator cuff injury:

Benefits of Arthroscopic Surgery

  • Less invasive compared to open surgery
  • Not as damaging to the surrounding tissue
  • Faster recovery

Benefits of Open Tendon Repair

  • Low rate of re-rupture
  • Individuals can participate in high-level sports activities.
  • Can perform adjunctive procedures if necessary 

Benefits of Tendon Transfer

  • Effectively treats nerve injuries from a torn, stretched, or cut nerve.
  • Capable of treating muscle injuries from trauma.
  • Patients with neuromuscular disorders such as spinal muscle atrophy, cerebral palsy, and traumatic brain injuries can undergo this treatment. 

Benefits of Shoulder Replacement

  • Pain relief
  • Restores full range of motion
  • 95% of patients have a pain-free function one year after the surgery.


Despite the usual dangers of all surgeries, such as blood loss and anesthesia issues, a few patients have reported suffering from additional complications after rotator cuff surgery. These can include:

  • Nerve InjuryOne study found that 1 to 2% of patients experience nerve damage due to the surgery.
  • InfectionAntibiotics are administered to patients during their procedure to reduce the potential for infection. If an infection arises, further surgery or antibiotic treatment may be necessary to manage it.
  • Deltoid Detachment During an open repair, slightly detaching the shoulder muscle may be necessary to access the rotator cuff. After its completion, this incision is secured back into place with sutures. You must protect this area during recovery so that proper healing can occur.
  • StiffnessTaking action is essential to avert lasting stiffness or immobility. Stiffness can be managed through more vigorous treatment and physical activity.
  • Tendon Re-TearFollowing all repairs, the potential for a re-tear exists. However, the size of the tear influences the magnitude of this risk. Those with tears that have been repaired rarely experience greater pain or shoulder dysfunction and usually do not require repeat surgery unless they suffer intense discomfort or find their overall function diminishing.

Choose The Best Treatment Option

Choosing the best course of treatment for your rotator cuff pain can be challenging, but with our fellowship-trained doctor’s guidance, you can make a decision best suited to your needs. It’s crucial to carefully weigh each therapy choice’s advantages and drawbacks and review them with your doctor.

Then, you can choose the best course of action together to speed up your recovery and enable you to resume your regular activities without experiencing any discomfort. Contact Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine immediately to make an appointment with one of our experts.